Skip to Content


Bai Xep

Yesterday I rented a motorbike again. Driving here is scary. But outside the city it’s soooo fun because there aren’t many people on the road. I drove around aimlessly away from town and saw so many breathtaking things. I stumbled upon a beautiful fishing village with an island.  The water was so clear blue it hurt. I walked around on the beach for a while, to many HELLOs from the local children. It looked like the locals were thoroughly engaged in snorkeling and sea urchin hunting. Everyone was friendly, except the young boy who angrily threw sand in my face. Haha.

Then, I went to this place called Haven.  The road there was kind of horrifying because it wound up and down steep hills and trucks and huge buses passed me a bit too close for comfort.

A Walk Across Busan

I’m Giving Away 3 Hits of Awesome: The Monster Pack Giveaway

The Monster Pack-Resources for busy English teachers

Good news for you, readers of ESL Speaking. You’ve just seen this in the nick of time. In less than a week, I’ll be giving away 3 hits of awesome. By “hits of awesome,” I mean The Monster Pack: Resources for Busy English Teachers, of course.

Now, I’m all about teaching what I want to teach because I’m super-weary of the same old overdone topics in the ESL textbooks and prefer talking about stuff that is personally interesting to me and hopefully more relevant for the students. But, that’s a topic for another day.

The Manjok (The 만족)


What are you doing here?

“What are you doing here?”

It’s a question a lot of Vietnamese people probably want to ask me (or actually are asking me and I just can’t understand it) as they see me, a twenty-two year old white American female, browsing casually through the grocery store or studying for my LSAT in a cafe.  Listening to music, sweating profusely in the heat. And alone. Always, always alone.

Tonight, my new coworker “Pierre,” a French guy masquerading as an American so he can teach English as a native speaker, invited “Curly,” my other coworker, to come with him to check out some local real estate and then grab dinner. I overheard this conversation and decided to invite myself. Figured it’d be nice to get to know my coworkers, and they are certainly a strange pair.

It’s not “goodbye.” It’s “안녕히 계세요.”

2-3 students

Goodbyes are always tough. But yesterday, during my last day as an English teacher at Ulsan Sports Science School, I experienced a whole new level of emotional farewells. Over the past year, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers and enthusiastic students, all of whom consistently went above and beyond with their generosity, kindness and sincerity to make me feel welcomed and cared for.

The Ins and Outs of Quinhon Cuisine

After much debate, I decided that I definitely want to stay in Quinhon until my contract ends. If I quit, I’d still have challenges facing me back at home. I’d have to find housing, a job, and a way to study for the LSAT in the midst of all the changes.  And I’d have lost the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.  So I’m staying (unless I get randomly fired again, which I hope doesn’t happen!).

My modus operandi isn’t to chase a carefree, happy life. I believe in learning to see positives, even in difficult times.  Life is stressful, no matter if you’re living in Quinhon or Anapolis. Fulfilling my contract here will be great practice in stress management, and will also give me an invaluable opportunity to learn about a culture different from my own.

How to Meet Korean Friends Outside Korea

If you have never been to Korea or are planning to go, you might be wondering how you can meet Korean friends. If you live outside Korea, it may not seem that easy. You cannot simply step outside your door and find Koreans just anywhere, unless you live in certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles or New York. If flying all the way to the other side of the world isn’t an option for you, then you can take these steps so you can be on your way to having many, many Korean 친구 (friends)!

The Lonely Foreigner

I do not like living in Qui Nhon.

The English is at a really low level. Vietnamese is a tonal language, so even when I do memorize a few words and phrases, no one understands what I’m trying to say because I can’t get the tones right. Ordering food is virtually impossible. Literally everything I’ve eaten so far has made me sick. I may never not have diarrhea again.  Locals overcharge me. I work splits six days a week. The school is infested with rats. I experience strange spells of lightheadedness. I am living out of a suitcase. The beach is right next to my hotel room, but the weather is so scorching and humid that I can’t enjoy it. Indoors, airconditioning is sparse. People stare at me wherever I go. Teenagers come up to me for pictures. Parents push their children towards me and I am compelled to have uncomfortable, phony conversations with them, consisting mainly of “How are you today?” “I’m five.”

Sneaky Selfies, Karma, and Loneliness

Right now I’m sitting in a place called Cafe Sunrise. As I type this, there is an elderly gentleman with a gold watch on sits in front of me. He’s in sunglasses smoking a cigarette. I caught him taking selfies, and thought oh how cute.  Then I looked closer, and noticed that his selfies were carefully composed to feature me typing on my computer in the background of every shot. 


why obsessed


I eventually decided to just go up to him and strike a pose.


I have allergies. Symptoms include: horrendously itchy nose, runny-stuffy nose, watery puppydog eyes, wet cough, headache, misery. Does anyong have any advice about allergies? No idea how to find out what’s causing them exactly, or how to stop this torture.


My 1st Day Teaching in Vietnam

It’s so hot here. So hot. So jungly. Me and my heat rashes are definitely going through an adjustment period!


My morning walk...gorgeous but fucking hot as fuck
My morning walk…gorgeous but fucking hot as fuck


My first day of teaching was yesterday…..


‘Seoul Searching’ Director: ‘This Country is Half Made Up of Minorities, But Cinema Doesn’t Reflect That’


A movie any gyopo can relate to.

Originally posted on Variety:

Warning: Do Not Learn Korean This Way

When learning a language, it is very easy to struggle or become demotivated because of the way that you are studying.

Think back to when you learned a language in high school. Many people can’t remember much of the languages they learned at school despite spending many hours studying them. And as a result, they believe that they are naturally bad at languages.

The good news is that usually that’s not true, and now you have a second chance. If you make use of better techniques you will find that language learning can be surpingly fun, simple, and effective!


Living in Korea: 10 Korean Apps You Need

When you are in Korea, you can download various Korean apps onto your smartphone in order to make your life simpler and easier. Here are ten of the most useful applications for life in Korea.


If you don’t have KakaoTalk on your phone then you might as well not even have a phone. This Korean app is so widespread that even your sixty-year-old boss will send you messages over KakaoTalk rather than regular texts.

2. Aco-Coffee, Gimhae, Gyongsangnamdo

1. Cafe Sweet Coax, Gimhae, Gyongsangnamdo

Cafe Sweet Coax, Gimhae

Mean Girls

How do you teach mean girls?

Today, my evening class contained arrogant, catty, and peevish young women.

These kids are fourteen, so I felt like I could talk to them as if they were young adults. WRONG. I allowed them to sit wherever they wanted at first, and I let them to snack. Those two minor allowances turned them WILD! They weren’t listening to me AT ALL, and were virtually ignoring everything but their own conversations. When I tried to split them up, they obstinately refused. They refuse to engage with anyone they consider uncool or ugly. How infuriating. So I called in the branch manager. He yelled at them, and I morphed into a cold, angry dictator for the rest of the lesson.

MERScation Continues: Sunday on Daecheon Beach

As I mentioned in the previous post, the MERS scare has caused a beautiful rarity for us teachers in Cheonan: SCHOOL HAS BEEN CANCELED! Most of us are experiencing a glorious four to five day weekend.

In celebration of this vacation, I went to Daecheon Beach with a group of twelve foreign teachers and one native Korean. Daecheon Beach is about an hour away from Cheonan via Korail. Korail is basically like America’s Amtrak, but with nicer, velvety seats. I spent the short trip gazing out the window at rice paddies, which was a relaxing and fun activity in and of itself.

Once we got to Daecheon, a new friend introduced me to the best goddamn food on the planet: dakgangjeong. Dakgangjeong is wonderful chicken with a peanutty flavor. 


Have something to say ?


helloHello!  If there’s something exciting going on in your area, let us know !  Because we are based in Los Angeles, we stay up to date on many Korean-American events, issues, etc.  But what about your community in your town ?

Are there cultural events, clubs, organizations that promotes the Korean or better yet the Kyopo community?  If so, we want to get the information out to a larger audience.  Drop us a line and we’ll make sure to spread the word.

Also, if you have a great piece of writing or just want to make yourself known to the kyopo community, send us an email and we’ll post it on our blog !



Will You Hate Teaching English in Korea?

You haven’t been out of America before? Never left your small town or even the safe confines of your parent’s home? Take it from me, someone with 4 years in the game, you’re probably going to hate teaching English in Korea. Let me explain why.

If you don’t like the idea of personal growth, my advice? Stay home.

Busan Tower 12.31.12When you spend long stretches of time in another culture, or if you move to a different place in your own country, there are phases you’ll go through as you adjust to the new environment.

Win 500,000 Won in The Great Seoul Treasure Hunt

Wouldn’t it be great if someone would pay you to go sightseeing, study Korean, and learn more about Korean culture?

Now that’s the dream! 

Well thanks to our friends at Stompy Ruffers Cultural Fusion and their Great Seoul Treasure Hunt, this is now possible.

That’s right. Stompy Ruffers Cultural Fusion is at it again, doing what they do best: “fusing” Korean and American culture into one amazingly fun event where you have the chance to win 500,000 won!

They’ve even teamed up with Hyunwoo from Talk to Me in Korean, and now simply everyone is talking about the “Lost Keys of Namsan.”

Booze Frog (술 개구리)

Name: Booze Frog (술 개구리)

Location: Hapjeong / Sangsu

Olsoo (얼쑤)

Name: Olsoo (얼쑤) Location: Hongdae Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on January 10th 2015 Thoughts: Right in the middle of Hongdae: the thriving, bustling beating heart of Seoul’s nightlife, where students, tourists, party […]

Seoul City Wall VIP Tour with Mayor Park

Mayor Park shows the different styles of stonework that are along Seoul's City Wall
Mayor Park shows the different styles of stonework that are along Seoul’s City Wall

If you’ve been reading my blog there’s no need to remind you of how in love with Seoul I am! I feel really lucky to have experienced so many aspects of the city and Korea in general. With all the great things Seoul has to offer it is really difficult to pick a favorite, but I must admit I do have one, and it’s Seoul’s City Wall.

My first 24 hours in South Korea

Can I tell you something? I don’t actually like airplanes. Twenty-six hours total in flight. Nightmares, people. NIGHTMARES.

Things got better after the flights (there were three). Since I’ve already been to Seoul, I felt a sense of familiarity at Incheon International Airport, and on the subways.  It was weird after all those hours traveling to feel such a strong sense of returning.

I chose to stay at Dustin Guesthouse, a place I visited during my first trip to Korea. The first people I met were some Southern army boys boasting loudly about their affection for guns. Weird to travel halfway around the world to hear that conversation.

Registration For May 23rd Meeting Open!!

Well Mamas & Papas, we have been doing this meeting thing for about three years now.  And that’s a lot of bars!  So whenever there is something new on the scene, we jump on it so others can explore.  Well there is  relatively new bar that has been receiving quite a bit of buzz lately that we couldn’t wait another second to try it out!

What would you do?

Backcountry Camping in North Carolina

I’m leaving for South Korea tonight! Finally! Wish I were more well rested. My dad was super excited to get breakfast with me this morning and woke me up at 7:30AM!

Last week, I said goodbye to the Great American Wilderness with a backcountry camping trip in the Great Smoky Mountains with said dad.

The art of backpacking isn’t hard to master. If you’ve never gone backcountry camping before, I strongly encourage you to do so at your earliest possible convenience. I feel like there are two people in the world: Those that backpack and those that do not. Why the polarity, betches? Backpacking is easy. You need to invest the money in a solid set of gear (see below) but once that’s over with, you have many cheap vacations ahead of you. It’s not just for outdoor nuts…it’s for anyone who wants to explore what it means to be human.

Occidental Hero, or, How I Screwed Up and Inspired the Development of a Global City

John Bocskay:

Here’s my latest piece over at Sometimes heroes are neither made nor born; they’re fabricated.


Originally posted on SWEET PICKLES & CORN:

Syndicate content

Koreabridge - RSS Feeds
Features @koreabridge     Blogs  @koreablogs
Jobs @koreabridgejobs  Classifieds @kb_classifieds

Koreabridge - Facebook Group

Koreabridge - Googe+ Group